The Fort Dodge Senior High Dance Team triumphed at the Iowa state dance team competition in Des Moines.
Participating in two categories at the annual event on Dec. 1 and 2, the team received a plaque and qualified for Division I placement.
"They did awesome," said Jill Sherman, FDSH dance team coach. "For a fairly new team, that was high-ranking. Last year they got a Division II ranking, so this year that's huge to go to Division I."
Sherman said the 15-girl team competing at state this time was fairly new from the year before.
"There are four seniors on this team, but mostly they're freshman," she said. "Coming in this year, they were pretty much brand new."
The FDSH dance team does several different routines in advance preparation of the competition, Sherman said.
"They do two palms, they have a jazz, a hip hop. They have a cane routine. And they have a light routine," she said. "They took their light routine, and cane routine and novelty to Division I state competition, which is what we had the first weekend in December."
The dance team has been preparing for the competition for six months, since June 1, Sherman said.
"They worked all summer through December on those two routines basically, to try to clean them and get them decent to go to state," she said.
The team captain, Katie Rickels, 18, said she was pleased by their accomplishment.
"We all thought that we did kind of bad, because we went out and watched the teams after us and we were really surprised. They were really good," she said. "But we got Division I, and we were all really excited. It's better than we did last year."
The effort took plenty of preparation, Rickels said.
"It was long practices, lots of arguments and yelling, trying to figure out what our lights were supposed to do, trying to get it all together," she said. "In the end, it all worked out."
Rickels said she loves dancing.
"I like the feeling I get. It makes me feel free, just doing whatever I can do," she said.
The state dance team competition was the biggest event of the year for the group, Sherman said. They're not planning to participate in other competitions.
"State is our main thing," she said. "There are some smaller ones that some schools do, but they're usually earlier than state and we're busy practicing. We only got invited to one this year."
Next, the FDSH dance team will be holding a dance team clinic for any students, from grades kindergarten and up, interested in learning dancing, Sherman said.
"They come and they learn a little routine, and that evening they have a FDSH dance team night where the public can come and watch what these girls have done all year," she said. "We break the little kids down by grade and they get to come and perform that evening, too."
The dance clinic will be held at Fort Dodge Senior High on Jan. 14.
Contact Brandon L. Summers at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org